On Nov. 27, a well-known New York landlord pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to mortgage fraud. The defendant was also found guilty of attempting to illegally evict tenants from one of his properties earlier in the year.
According to media reports, the defendant was part of an illegal scheme to use fake loan documents to bilk money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He pleaded guilty to charges of mortgage fraud, forgery and grand larceny.
This isn't the first time the defendant has been involved in a white-collar crime. In 2013, he used a shell company to illegally purchase a property for $250,000. He sold it the following year, pocketing a $1 million profit. In June, he was also convicted of using illegal methods to evict tenants from his Crown Heights apartment building, which contains 14 units. According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the defendant attempted to enrich himself by stealing from the public and taxpayers.
Individuals convicted of fraud and other white-collar crimes could face significant prison sentences and steep fines. They may also be ordered to pay restitution. However, every defendant is innocent until proven guilty and deserves a vigorous defense in court. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, a defendant may be able to avoid conviction and the severe penalties that follow. An attorney could scrutinize the evidence and work to cast doubt on the prosecution's case. In some circumstances, the charges may be dismissed before trial. In others, legal counsel may recommend negotiating a plea deal that allows the defendant to plead guilty to less serious charges, which could lower the associated penalties.
Source: The Real Deal, "Notorious NYC landlord pleads guilty to mortgage fraud, grand larceny," Nov. 27, 2017